Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, May 06, 2005
Corporate - Mergers & Acquisitions
Basell acquisition HPL still undecided on joining Chatterjee-led consortium
Kolkata , May 5
HALDIA Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) has not yet decided whether it should join hands with the global consortium led by The Chatterjee Group (TCG) to acquire the assets of the $8.4-billion Basell NV, the joint venture between Royal Dutch/Shell Group and BASF AG of Germany.
Sources said that Mr Purnendu Chatterjee of TCG has already made several presentations to the West Bengal Government, the board of directors of HPL and Haldia Petrochemicals' corporate debt restructuring (CDR) committee on the proposed acquisition.
"He had tried to convince all of them about the advantages that HPL would accrue if they take part in the acquisition process. And if the TCG-led consortium succeeds in its bid, then HPL would have a stake in the world's largest producer of polypropylene," sources said.
It was also learnt that on Wednesday Mr Chatterjee met representatives of the West Bengal Government in the city.
Sources in TCG said that they had presented their case but the final decision on HPL's participation in the acquisition process would be taken by the board of directors of HPL, West Bengal Government and HPL's CDR committee.
The West Bengal Industry Minister, Mr Nirupam Sen, confirmed TCG's move and its presentation to the State Government.
Currently, HPL uses two Basell technologies for the production of polypropylene and LLDP (linear low density polypropylene). Talking about the proposed gains of HPL, sources said that it would have "immediate access" to the global market for selling its products.
"Moreover, HPL would have access to Basell's huge knowledge base. The Dutch company already holds 8,800 industrial patents and two Chemistry Nobel laureates are working for it," sources said.
They added that though HPL board was actively considering the proposal made by TCG, still it was not clear as to what extent they would participate. HPL is already talking to several lenders including IDBI for raising Rs 2,500 crore.
"As the TCG-led consortium has succeeded in striking the deal on Basell, a concrete proposal is likely to emerge now. Accordingly it will be placed before HPL and then the decision will be taken by the authorities concerned," sources said.
There is another aspect of the present development, which would directly affect HPL.
Mr Chatterjee has already proposed to buy out West Bengal Government's stake in HPL and it is also being seriously considered by the State Government.
No one appears to be sure as to what will happen to that proposal now.
"We will have to wait and find out what will be the next course of action of TCG," sources said.
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